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County workers no longer have to use sick time when hurt on job

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GREENFIELD — County employees no longer have to use their own sick time if they are injured at work, according to an ordinance approved Tuesday by Hancock County Commissioners.

Commissioners brought back an ordinance that had been tabled since October 2010. Commissioner Derek Towle said somebody had asked him about rules for taking time off after being injured on the job, and Towle was surprised to learn the ordinance was still tabled.

“I think we need to take care of our employees instead of having them take their (own) time off,” Towle said.

Under previous policy, if the injury qualified for workman’s compensation, employees were compensated for their sick time if they had to be off seven days or more.

Now, even if the employee has to be off for less than seven days, the employee does not have to use his own sick time.

While both Towle and Commissioner Tom Stevens were in favor of the change in policy, Commissioner Brad Armstrong was not.

“You’re not incentivizing getting back to work,” Armstrong said.

He said he believes that in private business people would have to take their own sick time.

Armstrong said employees could take advantage of the new policy. Still, he’s quick to add that most county employees wouldn’t consider taking more time off than necessary.

“But if someone wanted to take advantage of it, it would give them an opportunity,” Armstrong said.

The change goes into effect immediately, and is retroactive to include anyone who may have been injured on the job since the beginning of this year.

Also Tuesday,

►Hancock County Highway Superintendent Joe Copeland informed commissioners about a large hole that was adjacent to the road at CR 100E, south of CR 500S. The hole was created when a farmer removed a tree, but Copeland said it was done without permission on county right-of-way.

“It was a hazard to the traveling public big time, and if they’d got off (the road) there, it could have killed them,” Copeland said.

The county department has already filled the hole and plans to have the farmer, Lloyd Arthur, compensate the department for the time.

►Commissioners approved the purchase of a switch and mechanism for the Hancock County Jail’s generator.

The switch no longer works, and technology for the 24-year-old device is outdated, said Sheriff’s Maj. Brad Burkhart.

The new mechanism could cost up to $10,000.

►Commissioners approved the American Cancer Society to use the courthouse lawn for a ceremony May 4 in conjunction with the Relay for Life fundraiser.

The society also plans to “paint the town purple” by putting up purple ribbons and other decorations in downtown Greenfield.

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